How to survive the quiet times: A guide for writers, part 7

Rhubarb fool cr Judy DarleyAs publishing houses tighten their belts yet again, the time between writing commissions can sometimes seem to stretch to the horizon and back. Freelance journalist Deborah Willimott offers her tips for surviving the lean times of being a freelance writer.

Survival tip 7: Cook Something Complicated

When flancers are busy with writing work, everything else in their lives goes downhill – particularly their diet. They don’t eat anything between paragraphs, other than food items pre-prepared so that the only effort necessary is ripping off the packaging.

However, when the work dries up, flancers spend their day at the other end of the comestible scale and fill their day with culinary complexity. Think making choux pastry (from scratch), venison souffles, pasta stuffed with soaked truffles, battered tongue, soda bread and their own cheeses.

Curries are massively popular with bored flancers because some of the more epic recipes take DAYS to prepare, and come furnished with the added bonus that in order to collect every single obscure spice required, one must either (a) visit the Indian supermarket (doubtless situated on an industrial estate halfway to the moon, affording yet more delicious time-wasting), or (b) visit India itself, to which the flight alone will gloriously waste an average of 22 hours.

Alternatively make something simply that requires ingredients you’ve grown yourself, such as a rhubarb fool, as that introduces a whole new realm of time-consuming.

Survival tip 1: Become a ‘Curtain Twitcher’
Survival tip 2: : Accept the commission from hell

Survival tip 3: Google your illnesses
Survival tip 4: Seek food
Survival tip 5: Experiment with a new computer font
Survival tip 6:  Consider organising your accounts
Survival tip 8: Dress inappropriately  

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